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- Gabby Giffords’ gun control push gets high-profile speaker: Bill Clinton
- Tony Blair to warn West: Take sides against radical Islam
Feds who send arms against ranch families betray American values
Topic - Universal Service Fund
The Universal Service Fund (USF) was created by the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1997 to meet Congressional universal service goals as mandated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The 1996 Act states that all providers of telecommunications services should contribute to federal universal service in some equitable and nondiscriminatory manner; there should be specific, predictable, and sufficient Federal and State mechanisms to preserve and advance universal service; all schools, classrooms, health care providers, and libraries should, generally, have access to advanced telecommunications services; and finally, that the Federal-State Joint Board and the FCC should determine those other principles that, consistent with the 1996 Act, are necessary to protect the public interest. As of the first quarter of 2010, the USF fee equals 14.1 percent of a telecom company's interstate and end-user revenues. - Source: Wikipedia
Congress is finally getting involved in reining in one of the government's most bloated programs, the $9.3 billion Universal Service Fund, which is responsible for saddling telephone bills with an inscrutable array of taxes and fees. People have to pay more to keep in touch with friends and family because the government is raising cash to buy Obamaphones.
The government doesn't handle technology well. When Uncle Sam comes into contact with something new, his first instinct is to impose familiar regulations and taxes regardless of whether doing so makes any sense. So it's no surprise the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to apply telephone-era rules to the Internet, making it more expensive than ever to log in to keep in touch with friends and family.
Washington is famous for budget trickery, and the practice of base-line budgeting is one of its most cynical traditions. Base-line budgeting makes an increase in funding appear as a cut. For example, according to Dan Mitchell at the Cato Institute, "The 'cuts' in the [debt ceiling] deal are only cuts from the [Congressional Budget Office's] 'baseline,' which is a Washington construct of ever-rising spending. And even these 'cuts' from the baseline include $156 billion of interest savings, which are imaginary because the underlying cuts are imaginary." An egregious example of such base-line budgeting is the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Universal Service Fund (USF).
AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and four other telecom companies are offering a proposal to overhaul the $8 billion federal phone subsidy program to pay for high-speed Internet connections in rural and other underserved areas.
One thing all cell-phone bills have in common is a lengthy, confusing list of government taxes, surcharges and fees imposed at the local, state and federal level. These charges add up quickly. An average $48 monthly bill in Nebraska, for example, includes $11.35 in tithes to the bureaucracy.
A political battle is underway in Washington, and the implications for public safety in rural America must be recognized. Wireless service is critical to effective public safety and is relied upon by citizens and first responders, especially in rural and remote regions of the country. Yet despite the need for more wireless service in less populated areas, the Federal Communications Commission is considering a recommendation that could slow or stop the expansion of wireless service in areas where it is needed most.